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water archives
1 2 III-2004: 09

copyright: NASAfinding water, a billion tonnes on the moon

Water – a useful resource for exploration of the moon.

“The Moon may harbour five times more water than we thought”.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water280303

28.03.2003

 


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water conflicts—rivers and aquifers

“But will nations submit themselves to water mediators? The early signs are not good. Szollosi-Nagy says a group of upstream nations, including Turkey, are trying to remove a call for more treaties on international rivers from the forum's closing ministerial statement. "Upstream countries are not willing to share. It's very disappointing after all the fine words at the start of the conference," he says.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water230303

23.03.2003

belgium comes top

“Belgium has the dirtiest water in the world, according to a new report. The European nation's water quality was placed last in a list of 122 countries, ranking below India, Jordan and nine African countries that make up the planet's hydrological dirty dozen.”

Rough executive summary
(26 pages with pics. Therefore, it takes a while to download on a slow link.)

related material
importance of managing water resources

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water050303

05.03.2003

related material
importance of managing water resources

improving life in backward areas—conservation of water in india Four GoldenYak (tm) award
(article is recommended reading)

All that is necessary for the triumph of sense is that good people do something!

Getting the Sheriff of Nottingham off your back—>
“The water harvesting structures are mainly crescent-shaped earthen embankments (known as johads), or low, straight, concrete-and-rubble "check dams" built across seasonally flooded gullies (nalas). Johads have been built in Rajasthan for hundreds of years but many fell into disrepair during the 20th century due to the increasing role of the state in water management (and its fixation on large-scale projects) and the consequent weakening of village-level water management institutions and practices.”

“TBS has contributed around 70 million rupees (US$1.4 million) in outside funding to the cost of the water harvesting structures. This works out to a cost of 500 rupees per hectare irrigated and 100 rupees ($2!) per person supplied with drinking water. An admittedly back-of-the-envelope comparison of these costs with those of the notorious Sardar Sarovar dam project (SSP) in Gujarat state gives startling results. Taking a conservative estimate of the total cost of SSP of 300 billion rupees ($6bn) gives a per-person cost of 10,000 rupees for drinking water supplied 100 times more than in Alwar. The cost of supplying one hectare with irrigation water from SSP works out to be 170,000 rupees 340 times more than in Alwar. Theoretically, if the budget for SSP was available to TBS-type water harvesters, they could provide drinking water to three billion people (half the world's population) while irrigating 600 million hectares (more than twice the world's irrigated area).”

Other examples can be found at the Ostrom link in this item.

Compare also with this item.

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‘tragedy of the commons’

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water310103

31.01.2003

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‘tragedy of the commons’

bringing attention to increasing pressure on fresh water supplies

related material
see the other articles in this archive (below)

 

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water090103

09.01.2003

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see the other articles in this archive (below)

water poverty index [991kb]

A suggested method for assessing water availability over time, in order to enable better water management.

[Note: a ‘touchy’ PDF file. Use the thumbnail facility to ensure each page is downloaded.]

related material
the importance of managing water resources

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water201202

20.12.2002

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the importance of managing water resources

running out of oil? no problem we'll mine texan water next

“Mesa wants to sell each year 150,000 to 200,000 acre-feet of water – the amount it takes to cover one acre in a foot of water, or some 326,000 gallons. Mesa has enough water to last until about 2130 and is asking $600 to $700 per acre-foot.”

And then what?

”The city of Amarillo bought rights a few years later, and their permits allow for the 100 percent depletion of water in the aquifer to which they hold rights.”

“Environmental groups charge that, unlike a reservoir, the water collected through the centuries in the aquifer will eventually run out. They say that draining water in one region is like sticking a straw into the aquifer as a whole and will cause the depletion of a valuable resource needed in the eight states that sit atop the Ogallala, which is used to irrigate crops for about 20 percent of the nation’s crops.”

Here is a outline map of the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest aquifers in the world. The article is an excellent, if sketchy, write up. Well worth reading for context.

“The southern portion of the formation in Texas and New Mexico is now a plateau, cut off on all sides.”

“The water in the formation generally flows from northwest to southeast at a rate of about 150 feet per year.”

Pumpage for irrigation increased from about 4 million acre-feet in 1949 to nearly 18 million acre-feet during 1980. Since water pumped from the aquifer was not replaced at the same rate that it was removed, the water table began to decline.”

“The Texas portion of the Ogallala Aquifer contained approximately 450 million acre-feet of water in 1990.”

A major problem with irrigation is bringing salts to the surface, which then poison the land. This process is cited as a cause for the fall of civilisations, particularly in the Middle East.

Another problem (which I do not think applies to the Ogallalo) can be that sea water ingresses to some aquifers if the level in the aquifer is drawn down below sea level, thus aggravating salting problems.

The Ogallala Aquifer has, so far, been drawn down a hundred feet (about 30 metres) and continues to be drawn down at a rate of about 1.75 feet (about half a metre) a year. At the same time, the aquifer is refilling at a rate of about one inch (2.5 cm) a year. To add to the problems, Texas is experiencing increasing conditions of drought.

Area and population of Texas
area: 266,807 square miles (691,027square km).
population: 18,291,000 (1994 estimate).

UK
area: 94,251 square miles (244,110 square km).
population: 57,376,000 (1990 estimate).

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water181202-2

18.12.2002

the world’s ice melting? let’s go and have a look

“...the launch this week of a laser-equipped satellite designed to measure the waxing and waning of the planet’s largest ice sheets.”

The Icesat satellite also measures the height of clouds.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates sea levels could rise 18 inches over the next century give or take 15 inches. Icesat’s measurements should shrink that uncertainty, Zwally said.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water181202

18.12.2002

the importance of managing water resources

“Experts calculate that 20 percent of the world's population in a total of 30 countries faced water shortages in 2000, a figure expected to climb to 30 percent or 2.3 billion people in a total of 50 countries by 2025.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#water151202-2

15.12.2002

growing water shortages—looking for solutions and profit

“Ric Davidge, president of Alaska Water Exports, wanted to tow enormous polymer fiber bags filled with fresh water from the Albion and Gualala rivers for potential sale to water-thirsty San Diego.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#ecology151202

15.12.2002

 

water pressure in california

“A deal aimed at cutting Southern California’s consumption of water from the mighty Colorado River by year’s end has been rejected by the last of four water districts that needed to approve it...”

“The federal government has warned that it would reduce Southern California’s access to the Colorado River early next year if the deal was rejected, instead of over 15 years as foreseen in the original plan.”

“To reduce its use of the river, California would rely heavily on the farmers of the Imperial Valley, diverting water from farms through existing water canals to fast-growing suburbs in San Diego.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-water1.htm#ecology121202-3

12.12.2002

fresh water provision...

Light but long item on growing water problems in the USA.
This article talks of private and public provision, and large vs small scale provision. It gives minor but useful background.

I would expect US fresh water scarcity to be cured by technology, American riches and effort, but this article reviews some difficulties which would apply to less wealthy countries.

The USA is currently undergoing unusual drought conditions:
drought and the usa

related material
Freshwater (PDF 1.1 MB)

 

09.08.2002

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Freshwater
(PDF 1.1 MB)

also
drought and the usa

drought and the usa

Do not take your environment for granted. Societies have, in fact, collapsed from exhausting their environment.

See the Cyber-Anasazi section in this article. (Would any reader with useful references on the collapse of other societies because of environmental degradation, including any useful books on this subject, please inform me.) [Atlantic Monthly, Apr. 2002]

wildfires are a symptom of a bigger problem – drought
“In a typical year, about 15 percent of the country (usa) might be experiencing drought. Now, more than 40 percent of the country is suffering. The worst recent drought, in July 1988, covered 36 percent of the nation; the worst of the Dust Bowl years was 1934, when in July 65 percent of the country baked.” [Washington Post, 03.07.02]

and the resultant cost in fires....
“Never in recent memory has the demand on resources been at peak levels so early in the summer.” [CS Monitor, 11.07.02]


Now, from Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace 1919

“What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man that age was which came to an end in August 1914! The greater part of the population, it is true, worked hard and lived at a low standard of comfort, yet were, to all appearances, reasonably contented with this lot. But escape was possible, for any man of capacity or character at all exceeding the average, into the middle and upper classes, for whom life offered, at a low cost and with the least trouble, conveniences, comforts, and amenities beyond the compass of the richest and most powerful monarchs of other ages. The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep; he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world, and share, without exertion or even trouble, in their prospective fruits and advantages; or he could decide to couple the security of his fortunes with the good faith of the townspeople of any substantial municipality in any continent that fancy or information might recommend. He could secure forthwith, if he wished it, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality, could despatch his servant to the neighbouring office of a bank for such supply of the precious metals as might seem convenient, and could then proceed abroad to foreign quarters, without knowledge of their religion, language, or customs, bearing coined wealth upon his person, and would consider himself greatly aggrieved and much surprised at the least interference. But, most important of all, he regarded this state of affairs as normal, certain, and permanent, except in the direction of further improvement, and any deviation from it as aberrant, scandalous, and avoidable. The projects and politics of militarism and imperialism, of racial and cultural rivalries, of monopolies, restrictions, and exclusion, which were to play the serpent to this paradise, were little more than the amusements of his daily newspaper, and appeared to exercise almost no influence at all on the ordinary course of social and economic life, the internationalisation of which was nearly complete in practice.”

and ....

“In short, Europe’s claim on the resources of the New World was becoming precarious; the law of diminishing returns was at last reasserting itself, and was making it necessary year by year for Europe to offer a greater quantity of other commodities to obtain the same amount of bread; and Europe, therefore, could by no means afford the disorganisation of any of her principal sources of supply.

“Much else might be said in an attempt to portray the economic peculiarities of the Europe of 1914. I have selected for emphasis the three or four greatest factors of instability—the instability of an excessive population dependent for its livelihood on a complicated and artificial organisation, the psychological instability of the labouring and capitalist classes, and the instability of Europe’s claim, coupled with the completeness of her dependence, on the food supplies of the New World.

“The war had so shaken this system as to endanger the life of Europe altogether. A great part of the continent was sick and dying; its population was greatly in excess of the numbers for which a livelihood was available; its organisation was destroyed, its transport system ruptured, and its food supplies terribly impaired.”

 

related material
Freshwater (PDF 1.1 MB)
Coastal and marine areas (PDF 0.6 MB)

15.07.02

 

related material

Freshwater (PDF 1.1 MB)

Coastal and marine areas (PDF 0.6 MB)

     

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